BitFenix Nova ReviewManufacturer: BitFenix
UK price (as reviewed): £26.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $61.00 (ex Tax)
The Nova is a new budget ATX chassis from BitFenix and, when we say budget, we really do mean it as it comes in at just £27 (or less than £25 for the non-windowed version). This is so cheap as to almost be worrying – can it really hold up to modern standards? BitFenix certainly believes so. Of course, we're not expecting the world from the Nova, but it's been a long while since we ventured this far down the price scale of the case market so it'll be interesting to see what's on the table.
The Nova makes a good start with a relative plain, inoffensive design rather than trying to disguise its low cost behind heaps of ugly plastic which invariably looks worse. The size and weight of the case are definitely on the low side and it seems especially narrow at 180mm – we've become used to 200mm or more, and the Nova is likely to struggle when it comes to cable management as its right side panel is not extruded.
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Most of the case is hewn from steel and, as you might expect, it's pretty thin. Still, the case isn't put together badly, with no unsightly gaps between panels to speak of. The plastic side panel is fairly solid as well but when we pressed on the side window, it actually came detached from the panel. Clearly, the Nova is far from a tank, but the build quality is still reasonable given the price.
The front I/O panel is equipped with power and reset buttons, which have a good action, as well as the usual audio jacks and a pair of USB ports. Only one of these meets the USB 3 standard but this is still very much better than none. A little bit down from the I/O panel, there's a bay cover for the single optical drive mount.
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In terms of airflow, the Nova doesn't have a whole lot to show for itself. There is a pair of 120mm front fan mounts, but they're empty by default and likely to be of limited use even if filled because of the solid front panel. They only have very small vents down the side of this panel through which to draw air. The only other fan mount is the 120mm rear exhaust and this one is fitted with a fan out of the box. In fairness to the Nova, we wouldn't expect more than a single fan at this price, and the rear exhaust position is the most important one, but even so the case is unlikely to deliver good cooling performance.
The Nova stands on a set of foam feet. These aren't as good as the thick rubber that more expensive cases use but it's certainly better than the case standing on metal or plastic. Lastly, the bottom has a slide out PSU dust filter, which is relatively easy to use without having to lift or tilt the case.
- Dimensions (mm) 183 x 465 x 437 (W x D x H)
- Material Steel, plastic
- Available colours Black, white
- Weight 4.8kg
- Front panel Power, reset, 1 x USB 3, 1 x USB 2, stereo, microphone
- Drive bays 1 x external 5.25in, 4 x 3.5in, 2 x 2.5in
- Form factor(s) ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX
- Cooling 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan included), 1 x 140mm or 2 x 120mm front fan mounts (fans not included)
- CPU cooler clearance 160mm
- Maximum graphics card length 320mm
- Extras Removable PSU dust filter